Liz Cheney, daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney and who is running for the U.S. Senate in Wyoming, has said she does not support same-sex marriage, drawing a strong criticism from her openly gay sister, Mary Cheney.
"I am strongly pro-life and I am not pro-gay marriage," Liz Cheney said in a statement released by her campaign in response to Republican Sen. Mike Enzi's allegation that she "supports abortion and aggressively promotes gay marriage."
"I believe the issue of marriage must be decided by the states, and by the people in the states, not by judges and not even by legislators, but by the people themselves," Cheney added.
Cheney accused Enzi of "lying" by allegedly polling voters in Wyoming with the question, "Are you aware that Liz Cheney supports abortion and aggressively promotes gay marriage?"
"The people of Wyoming deserve an honest campaign," Cheney said. "They should not be subject to the kind of dirty tricks this push poll represents. I call on Senator Enzi to denounce this poll and to tell the National Republican Senatorial Committee, or anyone else promoting untruths on his behalf, to stop."
Celeste Colgan, Cheney campaign spokesperson, called the alleged poll "dirty tricks politics at its worst." "It is sad and completely out of character with the way we run campaigns here in Wyoming to see the Enzi camp stoop to this level," Colgan said in the statement.
Enzi's spokesperson Coy Knobel denied the charge. "Neither Mike Enzi's campaign, nor anyone affiliated with his campaign, has conducted any polls in Wyoming," Knobel said in a statement. "He would never support a push-poll, or tolerate anyone working for him who conducted one. For Liz Cheney to assert otherwise, without any proof whatsoever, shows more about her campaign than Mike Enzi's. Mike Enzi prefers to focus on traveling around the state and talking to people one-on-one. That tells him what he needs to know about what Wyoming people are thinking."
Meanwhile, Cheney's sister, Mary, who married her longtime partner last year, criticized her statement on gay marriage.
"For the record, I love my sister, but she is dead wrong on the issue of marriage," Mary wrote on her Facebook page. "Freedom means freedom for everyone. That means that all families-regardless of how they look or how they are made-all families are entitled to the same rights, privileges and protections as every other."
Former Vice President Cheney has also been a supporter of gay marriage ever since it was learned that his daughter, Mary, is a lesbian.
Last July, he told The Associated Press that while he had long been a supporter of same-sex marriage, he did not do so publicly during the 2000 presidential campaign to save former President George W. Bush's chances of winning.
He made his support of gay marriage public while speaking at the National Press Club in Washington D.C. in June 2009. "As many of you know, one of my daughters is gay and it is something we have lived with for a long time in our family," he said. "I think people ought to be free to enter into any kind of union they wish. Any kind of arrangement they wish. The question of whether or not there ought to be a federal statute to protect this, I don't support. I do believe that historically the way marriage has been regulated is at the state level. It has always been a state issue and I think that is the way it ought to be handled today, on a state-by-state basis."